100 000 Years Of Beauty, An Original Book Supported By The L’Oréal Foundation Grupo

The book 100,000 Years of Beauty, published by Gallimard under the editorial direction of Elisabeth Azoulay, is a multidisciplinary reflection on the questions raised by beauty and representation of the body across human civilisations.

100,000 Years of Beauty, an original approach to R research about the human quest for beauty through the ages


Convinced that beauty has been a universal quest and an essential preoccupation since the origins of humanity, the L'Oréal Corporate Foundation hopes, through this initiative, to share knowledge and encourage the emergence of new perspectives about beauty.
100,000 Years of Beauty is devoted to the human quest for beauty through the ages and across civilisations, and is the first book to explore the subject with such an ambitious approach to time and space. At the heart of a book is a central thesis: that the quest for beauty, through the ideal medium of the human body, is a constant in all civilisations. Modelling of the body, the use of colour, hairstyles and ornaments, nudity and clothing – the extravagant variety of these signs make up a language that defines cultural identity, the particular era or social status. Over and above this diversity, 100,000 Years of Beauty demonstrates the universality of the quest.

In the words of Béatrice Dautresme, CEO of the L'Oréal Corporate Foundation: "In a fast-changing world, L’Oréal explores the fundamental question of the meaning of beauty. Contributing to and shedding light on knowledge about beauty and reflecting on the business of beauty – these are some of the motivations inspiring this work of social sciences research. 100,000 Years of Beauty fits perfectly with the values of the L'Oréal Corporate Foundation by highlighting the vital psychological and social implications of beauty, since without paying attention to appearance, there can be no social life, and without asserting aesthetic choices, there can be no civilisation."

Elisabeth Azoulay, Editorial Director of the book, comments: "We are entering into a new phase of the history of beauty that brings with it considerable societal challenges (respect for difference, public health, the rise of the biotechnologies). The palette of resources now available to people to take care of or even transform their bodies is expanding and each individual is faced with choices. We wanted to provide a source of documentation and a reference framework on the subject of beauty allowing people to make enlightened choices that suit their particular situation. In other words, we wanted to do everything in our power to promote greater freedom, personal development and self-esteem for all."

This project is a major editorial endeavour, uniting contributions from 300 writers of 35 different nationalities, and offering a multidisciplinary and international approach. Anthropologists, archaeologists, ethnologists, sociologists, artists, philosophers, historians, art critics, museum curators, psychiatrists – every one of the writers contributing to 100,000 Years of Beauty brings original insights into the quest for beauty and representations of the body.
Through this shared creative initiative, the L'Oréal Corporate Foundation hopes to:
- contribute to the emergence of new ways of looking at beauty, a fundamental question that is still little known but that constitutes an important facet of the history of humanity.
- share knowledge of its business: beauty. L’Oréal is keen to look at its expertise in the light of historical, cultural and anthropological approaches, the idea being to produce an exhaustive documentary resource on the subject of beauty in order to promote greater freedom, personal development and self-esteem for all.

About the L'Oréal Corporate Foundation

The L'Oréal Corporate Foundation, created in 2007, pursues the goal of making the world more beautiful each day. It draws on the Group's values and business to strengthen and perpetuate the Group’s commitment to social responsibility.
As the second-largest corporate foundation in France with a multi-annual budget of €40 million, the L'Oréal Foundation is committed to three types of action: promoting scientific research in the fundamental and human sciences, supporting education and helping individuals made vulnerable by alternations to their appearance to reclaim their rightful place in society.

Five volumes covering five major phases in the history of beauty

Each volume corresponds to a specific milestone in the quest for beauty
Each volume is placed under the scientific direction of a specialist in the period: Pascal Picq (Prehistory), Georges Vigarello (Antiquity, the Classical Era), Marc Nouschi (Modernity), Elisabeth Azoulay and Françoise Gaillard (the Future).
The work is prefaced with an essay by Michel Serres.
Each volume contains 60 to 100 articles and is organised in chapters consisting of a general introduction to the theme, era or civilisation concerned and thematic articles on the topic.
Published by Gallimard, 100 000 Years of Beauty will be available in bookshops in October 2009